Tapping into America’s Colonial history and today’s heady passion for craft brews, the nonprofit Historic Odessa Foundation and Cantwell’s Tavern have teamed up to present the inaugural Historic Odessa Brewfest Saturday, Sept. 6.
From their earliest days at the beginning of the 17th century, avid beer makers populated European settlements along both sides of the Delaware River. Odessa, a once-bustling Colonial grain shipping port and vital Mid Atlantic transportation hub of the 18th and early 19th centuries, will be the site of a craft beer festival in which today’s beer enthusiasts can step back more than 200 years to a pastoral setting befitting a celebration of grain, hops, fruits, herbs and time-honored brewing methods.
Attendees will have the opportunity to sample some of the best regional and national craft beers by more than 40 brewers, including some of the newest beers on the market by Oskar Blues, Lagunitas and New Belgium. Delaware’s breweries will be well represented by Dogfish Head, 16 Mile, 3rd Wave, Mispillion, and Old Dominion, to name a few. A VIP tasting will provide attendees with access to limited quantity beers.
Locally sourced food will be available, provided by Cantwell’s Tavern, and live musical entertainment will be presented by reggae evangelists Spokey Speaky and country crossover specialists Philbilly.
Colonial re-enactor Rich Wagner will demonstrate the brewing process from start to finish. In full period dress, Wagner, the author of "Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty," recreates the Colonial brewing process using historically accurate methods and materials - copper kettles, wooden barrels, hops and grains added by hand. He even uses the track of the sun across the sky to measure cooking times.
Known in the 1700s as Cantwell’s Bridge, Odessa contains some of the finest examples of 18th and 19th century architecture in Delaware, including the 1822 Brick Hotel, which remained an inn until the 1920s, and today is home to Cantwell’s Tavern, a farm-to-table gastropub operated by the Ashby Hospitality Group. Cantwell’s Tavern is part of the 30-acre enclave of the Historic Houses of Odessa nestled on the banks of the Appoquinimink River and owned and operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation. The Odessa Brewfest will be held on the sprawling lawn of the Wilson-Warner House, built in 1769.
The presenting sponsor for the inaugural Historic Odessa Brewfest is Wilmington Trust. All proceeds from the festival will go toward preservation and upkeep of this historic site and the foundation’s educational programming.
Tickets can also be purchased by calling 302-378-4119.
Since not every brewery will be able to send a representative to pour beer, and help will be needed to keep the historic site clean, HOF and Cantwell’s Tavern are looking for volunteers for the day’s festivities. Prospective volunteers can call Cantwell’s at 302-376-0600.
Event sponsors include Delaware Today, Main Line Today, WSTW/WDEL and Dover Rent All Tents & Events. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and interested parties should contact the Historic Odessa Foundation for more information at www.historicodessa.org.